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Oct 18, 2013 08:36 PM

8 people next Thurs + Fri - Best Options? [San Francisco]

My aunt and uncle are visiting for two days next week and would like to make dinner reservations for Thursday and Friday evening. The catch: they have a large group of 8 people.

Anything goes, though visiting from out of town, I would like to offer suggestions for some of the best restaurant options the city has to offer.

I would lean towards upscale and nicer dining over great standards like Lers Ros, though nothing too exorbitant either - they aren't looking for Saison or Coi level service/dining.

While it's not necessarily a work or business related dinner, they're in town attending a law conference at City Hall and will be joined by a group of others, so super formal or Michelin starred 8 course three hour long affairs are obviously out of the question.

That said, price is less a factor than really great food and ambiance. In fact, price is not really a factor at all. They all love to eat well and I've been enlisted to pick their two meals. The restaurants need to be somewhat accessible (not exorbitant tasting menus) as mentioned above, due to the size of their party.

The group supposedly consist of many elderly people, so nothing too loud or trendy. I had initially suggested NOPA (as example) and my aunt loved the reccomendation, but sure enough, it's booked solid.

What are some other great options?

I was considering either Restaurant Delfina or Perbacco for Italian. My aunt tried Zuni because of the proximity to Cit Hall but it was booked as well.

It can be in any neighborhood, as long as it's not way out in like the Sunset or Hunter's Point, or somewhere completely out of the way.

Downtown/Financial District, Nob Hill, North Beach, Mission, Noe, Castro, etc. are all fine.

I should mention that as far as I know, nobody in the group is from California, so I'd lean towards the higher end local farm to table stuff that SF does so well. I would have suggested Frances but no way for 8 people.

I've only been to Waterbar once and had a very enjoyable meal; is that a suggestion that I should make?

I have not been to a lot of newer spots like Boulevard, AQ, Gitane, State Bird, Baker & Banker, etc... Would any of these be places that would rank among the city's best?

Keep in mind again that there's 8 people and we need to be realistic about obtaining reservations for next weekend.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

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    1. re: grayelf

      Great suggestion; that could work!

      How does it compare to a place like Waterbar?

      1. re: OliverB

        I haven't been to waterbar but my SO had lunch at A&H with colleagues earlier this week and it went over well with an "assorted" group so I thought it might be worth a look for your situation.

        I had a quick boo on OT and they don't have anything next Thursday for a group that large but then again I'd prolly call the resto directly for a bigger gang... good luck on a bit of a tall order.

        What about Skool? They have larger tables and kind of a fun menu, plus it's a pretty room.

        Is Range too small? Or Local Mission Eatery? You'd have to call them as they don't do online resos for such a large group which seems to be the rule actually. I just looked up SPQR and they don't seem to take reservations for groups larger than five at all...

        1. re: OliverB

          In my experience, Anchor and Hope is several notches below Waterbar in most respects, and while slightly less expensive, it's still not cheap considering the no-frills ambience. Waterbar has some fantastic views, a full bar, and uses tablecloth (which helps reduce noise). Last time I had dinner at Anchor and Hope, they didn't even use a check holder. They just left the check, a curled up roll of paper, on the hard table surface where it it got wet due to a few drops of spilled ice water. For seafood, I'd pay the slightly higher cost of Waterbar in a split second. Or just in general, both the ambience and the food are better at Perbacco than A&H at about the same price point for an entree.

          1. re: nocharge

            I took my fiance to Anchor & Hope last week as I had been raving about the sea urchin for ages and I'm sad to report that it has taken a dive...

            The sea urchin - once served gloriously in its own shell -- is now made and served in a dish and the creamy, rich crab beurre blanc is thickened with potato starch (we asked what was so pasty in the dish).

            The oysters were still fabulous but it is hard to ruin raw oysters.

            We also ordered octopus with beans and there were only a small amount - maybe a half-dozen? - octopus bites in a fairly large cazuela of decently-seasoned beans, but even then, the octopus was chewy and not very tender.

            We also had a salad, with persimmon that was okay, but mostly forgettable. I don't even remember what else we ordered - it was all so forgettable AND loud. Definitely would not recommend it for a group as the business diners escalate the decibel level.

      2. I maybe would try Abbott's Cellar - plenty of room for a party of 8, lovely open space, great food. upscale but not formal.

        Lolinda's another spot with room to breathe, but maybe a bit too noisy....

        Perbacco sounds like a good pick.

        Waterbar is great - lovely view too.

        you could try the newly reopened Tosca Cafe in North Beach ...

        1 Reply
        1. re: mariacarmen

          No reservations at Tosca according to press reports.

        2. One back-up should be La Mar. Can always take bigger groups is in a good location, food/drinks are decent, fun space.

          Perbacco does seem like a good solution.

          Of the higher-end dining places (if you decide to go that route) I think Quince has the most space.

          1. Awfully short notice.

            Absinthe, Perbacco, Ame, Farina

            1. Just had a great meal at Incanto with in laws. I know there have some issues in past - but they were really on tonight. ( Wild Hare anyone?) Added bonus for out of towners - noise level was just right and you could have a conversation. Maybe I'm getting old but I am finding this is growing in importance for me when I am having a great meal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Crunchyum

                Incanto remodeled three years ago to install acoustic panels to reduce the noise level.